Sometimes, it feels like the number of possible cocktails is endless. And in a way, it almost is: imagine all the types of alcohol, all the soda/juice/mixers, all the garnishes, and then remember that a lot of cocktails might even take more than one ingredient from each category. The possibilities roll on forever, which can result in some fun experimentation and mixology sessions.
But even with the countless experiments yet to be attempted, every bar patron has their favorite that a good bartender should be ready to prepare. Here are classic cocktails every bartender should know.
- Old Fashioned
The old fashioned might be, well, a little old fashioned, but it’s a timeless classic for a reason. It’s simple, classy, and extremely adoptable to the individual. Ever since the mid-1800s, bartenders have been serving up this tasty treat of bitters, whiskey, and an orange peel.
Nowadays, the Old Fashioned has evolved, and might even spark some debate among connoisseurs about what the proper way to enjoy one. Whiskey, rum, or brandy? Sweet or sour? Lemon-lime or club soda? However, you order yours, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon, and is a classic cocktail for customers and bartenders alike.
A cousin of the Old Fashioned, it’s no surprise that the Manhattan has also worked its way as a mainstay on menus and bar tables. If the Old Fashioned is simple, a Manhattan is elementary. Nothing more than whiskey, vermouth, bitters, and a cherry, it’s an easy classic, both on the taste buds and the bartender.
But like it’s cousin, there’s enough variations of the Manhattan that everybody can find one that fits their palette. The whiskey can either be rye or Canadian, or you could opt for bourbon or scotch. Although the cherry is the traditional garnish of choice, both orange peels and lemon peels have made their way into the glass, providing sweeter and sour variations for the adventurous.
- Tom Collins
Another classic with roots dating back to at least the mid-1800s, the Tom Collins is a go-to for the gin lover in your life. A picturesque option, the clearness of the gin mixed with lemon juice and syrup really makes the garnishes pop, regardless if you choose the lemon peel or orange peel to match with the cherry. Obviously, though, it’s not a classic just because it looks cool; it’s a refreshing sour that goes down smooth.
Just like every other drink that existed for over a century, variations have made their way into the rotation of bar goers everywhere. You can replace the base with almost anything, but vodka, whiskey, or tequila are the popular choices if gin doesn’t tickle your fancy.
- Bloody Mary
What, did you think we weren’t going to mention our favorite? The Bloody Mary dates back a century to Paris in 1920 and is as essential to a brunch order as bacon, eggs, or whatever your go-to order is. A mixture of tomato juice, vodka (or gin, or tequila), and whatever you choose as a garnish, the Bloody Mary adds a nice kick to your buzz.
Unlike the rest of the cocktails on the list, the Bloody Mary can be a little intimidating to find the right mix of spices to get the most out of your drink. That’s why we’ve already done the hard part for you with our seasonings and rim salts, which make the perfect cocktail every time. Shop our catalog to get started making one for yourself.